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Review: DmC Devil May Cry
Developer: Ninja Theory - Publisher: Capcom - Platforms: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC - Release Date: January 15, 2013
Concept: Reboot the Devil May Cry franchise with a game that not only lives up to the series reputation, but surpasses it.
Graphics: Watching the architecture twist and contort is a sight to behold and the engine keeps up with the insanity without a even a hiccup.
Sound: Standard DMC rock/metal soundtrack with some dubstep thrown in for good(?) measure. Dante swears more than a drunken, shipwrecked sailor
Playability: Switching between weapons and chains can be touchy at times, but the action is fast-paced and smooth as silk. Swapping weapons on the fly lets you perform unbelievable combos like nothing.
Entertainment: I'll go ahead and say it: this is the best Devil May Cry in the series
Replay Value: Very High
Haters May Cry
When Ninja Theory's radical re-imagining of the beloved Devil May Cry series was announced, many people (myself included) feared it as an abomination. Not since the reveal of Toon Link in Wind Waker have I seen fan outcry as passionate and angry as it was when the jet black-haired Dante burst onto the scene. A couple of years and numerous threats and petitions later, and Ninja Theory has proven that it is, in fact, not out to destroy the beloved series by delivering the best Devil May Cry to date.
Devil May Cry is all about stylish action and combat is as polished as ever. Besides his hair, one big change made to Dante's character is that he is now Nephilim; the spawn born of the union between angel and demon. As such, Dante possess the power of each, which are accessed via the shoulder triggers. Angelic and Demonic weaponry can be swapped on the fly, allowing you to perform ridiculously long and complex combos with stylish ease. Each weapon comes with it's own moveset, giving you an almost overwhelming amount of combat options. Finding ways to incorporate so many attacks becomes an awesome challenge of "how can I out-crazy myself this time?"
My favorite aspect of DMC 4 was Nero's Devil Bringer; a demonic arm that pulled enemies to you, keeping the action close at all times. That concept is expanded upon with two sets of chains. The demon chain yanks demons within Dante's reach, while the angel chain brings him closer to them. Differentiating between the two will take getting used to, but once you memorize which chain does what, they become invaluable additions to Dante's arsenal.
Upgrades are also handled differently. The traditional red orbs are only used for buying items, while new white orbs purchase new abilities and upgrades. There are a ton of unlockable moves, and you won't get everything in one playthrough without some putting some serious time grinding through past levels. Another incentive to replaying areas is finding collectible lost souls, as well as a multitude of keys that open hidden Bayonetta-esque challenge areas.
Platforming has never been a focus in any DMC game and for good reason; it generally sucked. This is the first entry that I actually looked forward to the platforming segments as they're not only well-designed, but creative and challenging. Leaping point to point while the world is actively trying to kill you by breaking apart or extending jumps is a spectacle that is as fun to watch as it is to play. Dante's chains are used for grapple points that pull him towards platforms or vice versa, and really shine when you're forced to use them in tandem. Occasionally, the game can have issues recognizing grapple points; I'd try to snag a platform only to activate a weapon and miss, but such problems occur sporadically at most.
Another surprise comes in the form of the narrative. It's no masterpiece, but it is, for once, genuinely interesting and worth paying attention to; particularly the relationship between Vergil and Dante. This is helped by the latter brother having some substance, courtesy of a more fleshed-out backstory and a personality comprised of a bit more than just cheesy one-liners. He's not John Marston or anything, but this Dante takes things a little more seriously and has a broader emotional range overall. Now, if you're worried that Dante has lost his signature snark, don't be; he's still very much the same arrogant smart-ass he's always been. There's simply more to him now, making Dante a more likable character.
DmC also handles difficulty better than any game in recent memory. You're given three difficulty options at the start, with others unlocked the more you complete the game (see details below). Dante keeps everything he's gained in each playthrough, which make for easy collection runs on more relaxed settings. You could also farm orbs, hone your skills, and unlock more powers to tackle the more unforgiving difficulties. The game accommodates any skill level, and rewards seasoned players with fresh challenges and great replay value.
Dante's re-design may have left a bad taste in mouths of many fans, but the finished product will wash away any remaining doubts. DmC feels both new and familiar and is the shot in the arm that the series needed. After an exciting conclusion, I can't wait to see what's on the horizon for Dante.
The Difficulty Factor
Devil May Cry is known as much for it's blistering difficulty as it is for it's stylish action, so just how challenging is this entry? Here's a summary of each difficulty in case you're on the fence on where to start.
Human - Very easy
Devil Hunter - The default setting, though veteran players can still fly through with relative ease.
Nephilim - DMC aficionados will want to start here. The challenge is high enough to satisfy most fans.
Son of Sparda - Unlocked by beating the game on Nephilim. There are much larger enemy waves that mix up their standard attack patterns.
Dante Must Die! - Unlocked by beating Son of Sparda. Basically SoS on steroids, with late-game enemies appearing at the start
Heaven and Hell: Unlocked by beating Dante Must Die!. Both Dante and enemies die in one hit.
Hell and Hell: Unlocked by beating Heaven and Hell. Dante still goes down with one hit, but enemies take normal damage.
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